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How To Make A Cat Gag

Are Cats Sensitive To Sounds

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A saxophone being played next to a guitar.

Cats are sensitive to some sounds. Like us, humans loud or unexpected sounds can alarm or scare them. But, because they have a higher level of hearing they are sensitive to other sounds that may seem trivial to us.

This is because their ears can pick up sounds that, as humans, we cannot appreciate. Have you ever seen a cat hop up and react to something when you have noticed nothing? Well, this is a basic example of how their hearing is on another level.

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Do You Have To Worry When Your Cat Gags When She Smells Food

Not usually. The gagging behavior is a reflex caused by smelling a particular scent or pheromone that is unbearable for her. When she gags, she appears to grimace and uses her tongue to direct the smell to the organ.

You might have given her food that has a smell that the cat finds unpleasant. Cats typically hate the smell of citrus and mint.

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What Are The Causes Of Cat Gagging

The most common cause of gagging in cats is hairballs. When cats groom themselves, they lick away some of their hair and this collects into a ball in their stomach. Eventually, the cats body will rid itself of the hairball by vomiting. As the hairball reaches their throat, it will cause the cat to gag. This is not serious as bringing up hairballs is normal cat behavior. However, if you are a new cat owner, it can appear alarming the first time you see you cat bringing up a hairball. Once the cat has brought up the hairball, the cat gagging should desist. Although hairballs are the most common cause of cat gagging, they are not the only reason why this happens and some of the causes are most serious. According to the Pet Health Network, foreign bodies are another major cause of cat gagging. This is usually a minor problem, but it can also become a serious problem depending on the object.

For example, if you cat has eaten grass and has a blade of grass lodged in their throat causing irritation, it will usually dislodge itself eventually and the cat will either swallow it cough it up. On the other hand, eating a bird or small animal and getting this lodged in their throat is a bigger problem as this may not dislodge on its own. This may require an emergency trip to the veterinarian to have the foreign body removed. It is sometimes possible for the vet to extract the foreign object using an instrument inserted via the cats throat, but surgery is sometimes necessary.

Should Your Cat Gagging Be A Cause For Alarm

How to Make a Cat Gag

If your cat is gagging regularly, especially if they are vomiting as well is a cause for alarm. According to this site, cats should not be doing this more than once any week. If they are, they should be checked out by your vet to make sure.

The rule is if in doubt its worth checking it out. If your cat is acting even close to this and you are not sure its worth checking rather than assuming it will be ok.

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Q How Do Hairballs Form

A Your cat’s tongue is an excellent tool for grooming, as its tiny backwards-facing barbs help to pick up stray hairs and remove them from her coat. This is great for preventing matting, but as those barbs also ensure your cat can’t spit the hair back out, it means she will end up swallowing it with every lick. The hair then gathers into a little ball in your cat’s gut, and usually passes out safely and comfortably in her poo. Occasionally, a hairball won’t pass normally and, instead, your cat will vomit up a little sausage-shaped ball of fur. In rare cases, if the hairball won’t come up or pass out, it can cause an uncomfortable tickle in your cat’s stomach. When this happens, she’ll try to regurgitate it and you’ll hear these typical retching noises.

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Reasons Why Cats Gag To The Sound Of Combs

Like I have mentioned above, cats gag to the sound of combs because they have a strong and sensitive sense of hearing. Their sensitive sense of hearing helps them when they hunt. It helps them to hear if there are prey or predators nearby.

When a cat hears the sound of a comb, it will react. Cats will respond because the sound of the comb sounds like the teeth of a mouse. That is why cats have evolved to respond to gag when they hear this kind of noise.

However, other sounds make cats gag aside from the sound of the combs. What are those things? Let us find out what those are!

Cough Medicine For Cats

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Two medications that treat coughing in cats are known as dextromethorphan and guaifenesin. These medications can be found over the counter and in human medications. These are rarely recommended for cats as they are largely ineffective and do not treat the cause of the cough which can worsen with time.

If your cat is coughing, cough medicine is not recommended. He needs to be seen by a veterinarian.

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Chirps Trills And Chirrups

Learned in kittenhood, these birdlike utterances are slightly more declarative than a meow. Originally used by mothers to tell kittens to pay attention and follow her, your cat may chirp in an effort to get you to pay attention to her or as a way to get you to check out something she deems important. Chirrups and squeaky little trills might also happen when a cat is excited and happy.


You might have heard your cat chatter her teeth while longingly staring out a window at a sparrow or squirrel in a tree. Sometimes accompanied by a chirp, squeak or faint cry, the chatter is thought to be an indicator of a cats predatory excitement and of her stress at not being able to get to the prize. Some claim the chatter is actually a mimicked bird or rodent call, but this is anecdotal at best as the hunting prowess of cats is dependent on silence and stealth.

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Is A Cat Gagging Necessary

Gagging is necessary for cats. It is their bodys way of rejecting some food, or object that is undesired. This can be a life-saver if something harmful was about to enter their body. It is similar to how we humans handle the same situation.

However, the big difference between cats and humans is the other things that can trigger this such as sounds like jingling keys. It is believed that the fact that their ears, throat, and nose are connected, which could trigger this.

How To Make A Cat Gag

Cat Gags When he Smells Food

Gagging is a reflexive activity and is frequently connected with spewing. It is really a programmed response used to dismiss undesirable food or items from the body in a highly sensitive situation. When it comes to cats, there are certain foods and sounds that can make a cat gag.

While most people immediately think of using food to make a cat gag, there are certain sounds that can trigger a gagging reflex in cats.

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What Food Will Make Cats Gag

A few food sources can make a cat gag. One of these is citrus-based food sources, similar to lemon. These are known to make cats gag.

Different food varieties, for example, Mint or menthol are likewise known to cause comparative impacts. I personally would not use these foods to make your cat gag, since they can cause health issues if ingested.

Why Is My Indoor Cat Coughing

What causes cats to cough? In cats, coughing is most often a sign of an inflammatory problem affecting the lower respiratory tract, especially some form of bronchitis. This inflammation is often due to an infection, particularly with viruses such as feline viral rhinotracheitis, or bacteria such as Bordetella.

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My Experience With This Mouth Nose And Ear Connection

This connection of nose, ears, and mouth is similar to us humans. I remember, when I was young, finding this out the hard way. Basically, one afternoon myself and my brother were playing a game with grapes.

This entailed me catching the grapes as my brother threw them to me, the problem is I had too much in my mouth and somehow one of the grapes came up through my nose, I kid you not. I was worried that I nearly choked.

Sounds Cats Make And What They Mean

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The conversational cat decoded

Think your cats meows, chirps, yowls, and purrs are just random gibberish? Think again. Shes actually communicating to you information about her world and about how she feels toward you. The good news is that if you listen closely, you just might begin to understand what the sounds your cat makes is all about and use that understanding to your advantage.

Next to birds, cats possess the widest range of vocalizations of any domestic pet. Though best known for their meows, purrs, hisses, and growls, the list of sounds they regularly make is more comprehensive than this. Depending on the situation, your cat is capable of making many distinct utterances, with multiple nuanced variations of each, according to importance. Some reflect contentment and ease, while others expose worry, fear, or even anger. All, though, are indicative of your cats emotional state of mind.

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Cats That Make Hacking Retching Gagging And Coughing Noises

Should you be worried if your cat is making hacking gagging retching or coughing noises, but not bringing up a hairball?


Hi Dr Larry, I hope you are well. I wanted to ask you if it would be concerning if a cat constantly attempted to bring up a hairball but nothing ever comes up? My two cats are always ‘choking’ but I have never seen any evidence of hairballs. Should I be worried? Thanks, Tamaryn


If you kitty is making hacking, gagging, retching or coughing noises, it could be dangerous to that the cause is hairball. Constant or excessive heaving or retching sounds may be as a result of many different medical conditions, some of them of extremely dangerous.

If hairball is the cause of these noises, then the offending hairball usually is vomited or regurgitated up within a few minutes. Occasionaly your kitty may need a few attempts to accomplish this .

Sometimes your cat may be unable to get rid of the hairball. This may lead to intestinal obstruction, a rare but dangerous complication of hairball.

Some signs to look out for are:

  • reduced appetite,
  • reduced activity and
  • irritability or depression.

If your cat shows any of these symptoms, you should take her to your vet immediately. Gasterointestinal obstruction is a life threatening emergency

Dr Larry

Gagging Could Be A Pointer To Danger

While gagging and vomiting are somewhat common occurrences, if it happens too frequently, its a cause for alarm. Richard Goldstein, DVM, and a professor at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, warns on the universitys website that lots of cats vomit from time to time, but he doesnt believe that cat parents should let it go more than once per week without a trip to the vet.

Many times, hairballs are the culprit for cat gagging. Hairballs form as cats groom themselves the tried- -and-true tongue bath. By licking themselves, cats are removing dander and debris, and often, a lot of hair. Most of the hair theyve ingested gets passed through the digestive system unnoticed. But there are times when the hair gets stuck in the stomach. This attracts more hair to it and a hairball forms. Remember cats are good at ejecting anything harmful and gagging begins. The hairball is usually vomited out, an unsavory clump of mostly hair, bile and mucus.

Sometimes gagging can occur due to other potentially dangerous objects:

  • String
  • Anything foreign

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Why Does A Cat Keep Gagging But Not Throwing Up

Why does my cat gag without throwing up? A gastrointestinal disease may cause a cats gagging. It may suffer from esophagitis, which causes food to back up into the esophagus or acid reflux. More serious causes of gastrointestinal discomfort can include colitis, tumors, bowel obstruction, or irritable bowel syndrome.

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When To Take Your Cat To The Vet For Gagging

Now, if you witness abnormal gagging in your cat, then it may be time to take them to the vet. The vet will be able to diagnose your pet and offer remedies to solve the problem. Take in the following considerations before taking your cat to the vet. Here is what you should look for:

  • Loud meowing
  • Cat coughing up all of their food
  • Abnormal cat waste coloration
  • Repeated trips to the water bowl
  • Debris in the nasal passage
  • Dry cough
  • Visible obstructions in the food bowl that your cat has ingested

Of all the points listed above, the most concerning are abnormal waste coloration, dry cough, or items in the food bowl that your cat should have not consumed. Dry cough is the toughest to diagnose, because it might just be more than a hairball. Cats who are coughing after drinking water or eating food may have some form of feline asthma.

Kidney Or Liver Disease

If your cat experiences gagging along with vomiting, lethargy, itching, and increased thirst, he may be suffering from kidney disease. This is common in older cats, but it can occur at any time in a cats life and may or may not be related to an underlying condition such as urinary tract infections.

Cats with a bloated abdomen, lethargy, discoloration of the skin and eyes, and excessive thirst that goes along with gagging and vomiting may have liver disease. This can be caused by ingesting a toxin, but it is most commonly a disease of old age in cats.

Another potential cause for cat gagging can be Thyroid disease. Hyperthyroidism is very common and can lead to chronic and persistent gagging and vomiting.

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Tips For Naming Your Cat

If you’re stumped as to how to name your cat, there are a few helpful pointers to keep in mind. First, there are no rules about proper cat names. You can pick any name you think fits your furry feline. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to share this name with your vet, your family and friends, and maybe your neighbors in the event that your cat ever goes on the prowl and doesn’t return home right away. If it’s too long or too complicated to be easily understood, it might be hard for others to remember.

The second thing to keep in mind is that your cat’s physical characteristics are often a great inspiration for names. You can consider your cat’s coat color, size, and shape . Finally, factor in your feline’s personality. Every cat has one, so take your kitty’s sweet nature or feisty tendencies into account when choosing a cute or funny name for your cat.

Final Thoughts: Cat Coughing And Gagging

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Hairballs are usually the go-to answer for whenever a cat coughs and gags, but we hope this article has informed you that in fact, coughing in cats does not equate to hairballs at least not all of the time!

Never hesitate to consult your vet. Your fluffy kitty will thank you for it!

Please do share any question or comment with the FK community. We always enjoy hearing from our furllowers!

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Could The Sound Of Tin Foil Crinkling Make Cats Gag

The sound of tin foil crinkling can cause a cat to gag.

Other essential everyday sounds that can cause cats to gag is the unsettling of paper, coins jingling, and other high pitched sounds.

Not all cats will gag when they hear this sound. However, it is worth a shot if you want to make you cat gag and nothing else has worked.


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